Iceland ad banned over ‘misleading’ price comparisons with Tesco

Tesco has successfully argued to have an Iceland ad banned over “misleading” price comparisons after winning similar rulings against Aldi and Lidl.

The regional press ad, published daily between March 21 and March 25, read: “7 day deals” and “UK’s cheapest cuppa – save £4.08 vs Tesco”, with comparisons for PG Tips tea, milk and McVitie’s chocolate digestives.

Small text at the bottom of the ad stated: “£4.08 saving vs Tesco based on Tesco standard prices of products pictured” and “Comparisons made and prices checked on 12.02.19.”

The Iceland ad (ASA/PA)
The Iceland ad. (ASA/PA)

Tesco complained that the price comparisons were misleading because they compared Iceland’s promotional prices with Tesco’s non-promotional prices and the Tesco prices dated from five weeks before the ad was published.

Iceland argued that the small print stated that the comparison used Iceland’s promotional prices against Tesco’s standard prices and the ad included a URL to signpost consumers to where they could view the evidence for the claim.

Upholding Tesco’s complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the prices Iceland had used for their own products were not the prices charged on February 12 but their own promotional prices that they would be charging when the ad was published five weeks later.

Additionally, at the time the prices were checked, PG Tips was available in Tesco at the promotional price of £4 rather than the £5.99 stated in the ad.

The ASA said: “The prices therefore did not reflect the prices that consumers paid at either Iceland or Tesco on February 12.

“Furthermore, by the time the ad was published, the price at Tesco had further reduced, meaning that the overall saving a consumer could achieve by purchasing the ‘cuppa’ at Iceland rather than Tesco on the day the ad was published was only £1.59 compared to the £4.08 saving stated in the ad.”

The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again and told Iceland “to ensure the basis of their price comparisons were clear and their ads reflected the prices available to consumers”.

Last month, the ASA banned a Lidl ad for misleading customers over the potential savings they could make compared with Tesco.

A month earlier, the watchdog upheld a complaint by Tesco that Aldi had unfairly skewed a price comparison in the discounter’s favour.

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